Tahlequah Daily Press

February 6, 2014

NSU art faculty members strut their stuff

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Anyone contemplating a little culture the next two evenings may want to stop by the Northeastern State University Art Gallery to take in this year’s faculty art show.

The show, at 232 N. Muskogee Ave., features the work of Mark Hatley, Lance Hunter, Sylvia Nitti, Bo Lovelace, Melina Smyres and Tiffanie Temple, and spans a variety of mediums.

The opening reception, held Jan. 24, was deemed a success.

“It went really well,” said Smyres, director of the gallery and NSU faculty member. “We were so busy that evening you could barely see the art.”

This exhibit features watercolor, pastels, oils, ceramics, clay, digital media and print-making, said Smyres, who is a graphic artist.

According to Lance Hunter, NSU associate professor of art, all full- and part-time faculty are invited to participate.

“The exhibition is a showcase of their recent work,” said Hunter. “Because of the scheduling, the NSU Faculty Show often is the gallery debut for my work, which has gone on to be selected for national and international exhibitions in New York City, New Orleans and at the National Watercolor Society’s gallery in San Pedro, Calif., in the past few years.”

Smyres is the primary contact for shows at the venue.

“This is my first year at NSU,” said Smyres. “And I am the new gallery director and teach art classes. I come from New York, and am a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.”

Smyres choose to move to Oklahoma because she liked the job description at NSU.

“They also told me that if I like the outdoors, I’d love it here,” said Smyres. “Once I started researching the area, I found out it’s very similar in geography to the Hudson Valley. I grew up in the foothills of the Catskills, so it’s similar that way.”

She’s glad she made the move.

“Everyone here is kind and friendly,” said Smyres. “Plus the students are intelligent and very hard-working. The presentations at the end of their four years will show that.”

Smyres’ own contribution to the annual faculty show includes illustrations, a book and digital animation.

“Actually, my work is in this book [’A Life In Books, the Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley’] about made-up books, written by a colleague [Warren Lehrer],” said Smyres.

According to book’s website, the volume is “an illuminated novel containing 101 books within it.” All are written by Mobley, Lehrer’s protagonist, who is in prison and spends his time looking back on his life.

“The novel evolves through the writer’s career and is really a commentary about the publishing industry,” said Smyres. “All the covers to the books in the novel are fictional, but had to look real. The novel has been reviewed by the New York Times and Print magazine.”

The faculty show is held annually, along with others featuring student work.

“We have a undergraduate juried art show each year,” said Smyres. “We also have senior shows, which usually feature the art of two students at a time.”

Myres hopes to host traveling exhibits from other artists from across the country.

“I’m talking to an artist in New York who might be interested in exhibiting here,” said Myres.

“We have space available, and I think inviting others would benefit the students, too. We have a student show opening Friday, Feb. 14, featuring a couple of fine arts students, which should also be interesting.”


Pieces in the faculty art show can be viewed from 3 to 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday, Feb. 6-7. For more information about the NSU Art Gallery, contact Smyres at (918) 456-5511.